His great-great grandfather was bookkeeper and confidant of the venerable Duke of Èvreux. An unassuming man, Charles de Gris Laurent oversaw the horse stables, crop harvesting, mill production, and the tax revenues of his noble employer, whom often found himself at Versailles, on the ear of Louis XV. The son of peasant farmers, Charles possessed a natural gift for the accounting of things. Whether the commodity was a chicken, an ear of corn, or a nugget of gold, Monsieur de Gris Laurent maintained an accurate inventory and estimation of anything that held value.
As the Duke’s affairs limited his ability to oversee the fiefdom, Charles was increasingly entrusted with all things attributed to the manor, including the Château de Aubagne, a palatial estate on the coast near Marseilles. It was here, during a quarterly excursion of tax collecting, that Charles de Gris Laurent encountered a farmer, who was not able to reconcile his debts. Of humble origins himself, Charles did not wish to see the father of two infants and one toddler girl, evicted from the land. Though his duty was to the noble, to aggregate the necessary revenue of the season, Monsieur de Gris Laurent agreed to lend the man the required sum, from his own purse, under the agreement that the man would repay the loaned amount on the third month of the following visit, at an increased rate. The farmer, who was without options but was grateful that one was available, found the repayment terms agreeable. When Charles de Gris Laurent returned the following quarter, his loan had accrued in value.
Charles de Gris Laurent, free from the watchful eye of his employer, began making reasonable loans from the coffers of his employer, at a considerable rate of interest. The loans were always repaid and Charles began to amass a small fortune from the interest rates, which he stored in a newly rented apartment in Paris. His entrepreneurial endeavors never diverted from the work of his employ, but rather increased his bookkeeping acumen. He had begun to find himself indispensable to the Duke, who even sought his thoughts on negotiable terms for the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, over a cognac, at the château in Èvreux.
Forty-four years later, his son, Jean-Luc de Gris Laurent would finance the overthrow of the monarchy and establish the first private bank of De Gris Laurent in Paris. In addition to financing Napoleonic wars, Jean-Luc would lend capital to the governments of Austria and neighboring Prussia, two countries at war with one another. Regardless of the outcome, Jean-Luc was satisfied that the revenue accrued by the victor would far outweigh the financial losses sustained by the fallen. His son, Philippe de Gris Laurent would ply his father’s financial acumen in North America, establishing the private bank of De Gris Laurent in New York. It was at the behest of Philippe and his business associates, who were considerably invested in war related affairs, that Mr. Roosevelt engaged The United States into World War II. His son, Marston de Gris Laurent, who later assumed the English version of the family name, though discarding Laurent altogether, completely restructured the private banking activities of De Gris Laurent, beginning with its name, Grey Investments.
Benjamin arose before the sun this morning, lording over a counter in the Mulberry kitchen. He hovered over an espresso and smiled.
Maxwell entered in his plush onyx robe, surprised to see him.
“Someone’s up early.”
Maxwell opened the metallic refrigerator and perused its contents.
Benjamin continued staring into the abyss of the espresso.
“I’ve got a feeling…”
He paused. Maxwell turned to his friend, intrigued.
“That today is going to be great.”
He brought the espresso cup to his lips. Maxwell smiled, still idling at the sub zero cooler.
“Greatness is in your blood.”
Implode. Part XXXI – DK